Step-by-Step Yoga Pose: Side Plank

Did you know yoga is great for your core? Strengthen your obliques with side plank and you’re well on your way to a toned midsection. Bonus: You’ll build shoulder and wrist strength, too.

Side Plank Pose

Alias: Vasisthasana (“Vasistha” = the best (also a famous sage in Hindu mythology), “asana” = pose)

Why Side Plank?

You can practice side plank almost anywhere. It’s a quick way to get your core engaged during a yoga class or before/after any workout. Side plank strengthens your obliques, lower abs, shoulders and arms. You’ll also need to practice your willpower by staying in this challenging pose.

Getting into the posture:

  • Stretch both legs back, plant your toes and lift your knees to come into a plank position.
  • Firm up through the shoulders and core. Press away from the ground.
  • Shift your weight to the right hand.
  • Rotate your body so the edge of the left foot stacks over the right and your torso opens up to the side; raise your left hand toward the sky.
  • Lift your hips up toward the ceiling.
    Hold the pose for 10-30 seconds.
  • Exit the pose by returning to center plank and lowering your knees to the ground.
  • Rest for a moment and breathe.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Tips for success:

  • Press down strongly through the supporting hand as you lift the raised arm up.
  • Pull your belly to spine to engage your core.
  • Lift the hips up to further engage the obliques.
  • Come down to your forearm or drop a knee (see Variations/Modifications) if necessary. It may take awhile to build strength and endurance in this pose.


Variations/Modifications:

Forearm Side Plank: Practice the pose from your forearm to alleviate pressure on the wrist.

Grounded Side Plank: Drop the same knee as supporting hand (i.e. right knee and right hand) to the ground while doing the pose. Press down firmly through the outer edge of the foot on the outstretched leg.

Contraindications (when to be cautious):

Previous wrist/elbow/shoulder injuries: Exercise caution. Forearm side plank is an option to try.
Pregnancy: Practice the supported variation with one knee resting on the ground. If you’re in the second or third trimester, wait until after your baby has been born.

Natalie Sober is a yoga enthusiast who is inspired to share her knowledge. Natalie completed her first RYT-200 hour yoga teacher training course in Telkot, Nepal, in the Sanatan style of yoga before obtaining her second RYT-200 hour certification in the Power Vinyasa style.

Interested in learning more? Check out other poses in our Yoga Blog Series!

**Please consult your physician before beginning this series or any exercise program. As always, your body is the best teacher so listen to the cues it gives regarding whether or not a pose is a good idea.